In this article, we will explore various tips and tricks for setting up a tiny home office. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right desk and chair to maximizing storage space and creating a comfortable and pretty working space.
I am so excited to talk to you today about designing a tiny home office that really works!
After moving to a new home in a new country, new choices had to be made about how we live and work. I knew I needed a dedicated room to work, but the available options in our current living conditions were not ideal. There was only a tiny, very small room available. I quickly realized that I would need to get creative to make the most of the available space.
But, with a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of inspiration, I was able to create a cozy and functional home office that I absolutely love. In fact, it’s become my favorite room in the house!
So, if you’re in the same boat and looking for some design inspiration for a tiny home office in your space, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and get started!
Hi friends, as I am writing this post I am waving at you from my small office.
And when I say tiny, I really mean tiny. My office is the hardest working room in this house, it is also a really small home office in the smallest room in our temporary apartment.
While working on the renovation, we live in a temporary apartment that we created on the house’s first floor. The apartment is cozy and comfortable but still has a lot of unfinished touches. That’s OK. It will get its final makeover one day. If you’d like to follow our renovating adventures, watch them on our Youtube Channel: Lex and Marianne.
I am not getting any younger so when I sit down to work I need a proper office chair, a nice big screen to see what I am doing, and all the external memory (think notebooks, hard drives, notepads, and bulletin boards) close by.
Hunching over a tiny laptop while lounging on a couch with a TV blaring in the background does nothing for my productivity, so a dedicated workspace was what I needed.
But designing a mini home office in this small room was not easy. But I made it work, and I have been using and enjoying it ever since.
So let me share some of the small home office ideas, I learned and practiced when setting up this home office in a small space.
There are a few steps to take when designing any room, and a couple of extra considerations when designing a tiny office.
How to Plan Your Tiny Workspace
Measuring Your Space
The first step in setting up a tiny home office is to measure your space. Measure the length, width, and height of your office area. Keep in mind that you need to have enough space to move around and store your office supplies. Measure your desk, chair, and other furniture you plan to use in your office. This will help you determine what you can and cannot place in your little office space.
You have to know what you are working with. When I design a room I like to start on paper. I grab a pad of graph paper and make a sketch of the room to size (if you are fancy you can use room planner software for this).
Note the location of windows, doors, heating vents, electrical outlets, and such on your layout.
Designing Your Layout
The second step is to design your layout. Determine where you want to place your desk and other furniture. Keep in mind that you need to have enough space to move around and store your office supplies.
To come up with the perfect room design for my mini home office, I cut little pieces of paper to represent the furniture that needed to be in the room and the furniture that I’d liked to use in the room. I used the same scale as the layout I made. Then I moved those pieces around.
I have designed every room this way since way back for my very first student room which needed to be a bedroom, living room, and office in one. I have also planned the layout of our entire apartment this way. I have come up with so many creative ways to place my furniture by just shuffling them around on paper. Much easier than shuffling them in real life.
Choosing the Right Furniture
When making your layout on paper it is also the time to make some choices about your furniture. I advocate using what you have, but if you only have a small working space at home you might have to invest in some furniture that fits the space. There is furniture that is specifically designed for small spaces, it might be wise to check those out. Choose a desk that fits your space and your needs. Consider a desk with built-in storage to help you stay organized. Look for a chair that is comfortable and adjustable but also not too big.
There was no way that I could fit my old desk from my office in my last house into this space. Instead, I used a really old office desk that previously belonged to my dear roommate.
Miraculously I could fit three Billy bookcases – with extensions – on the back wall. It was a really tight fit under the ceiling and in between two spotlights in the corner. But it fit! Billy bookcases are perfect for a tiny office because they are not very deep but they can store a whole lot of office supplies and books.
You know all those posts on the internet with beautiful pictures of tiny offices? Yeah, I think most of them are total fakes. Because let me tell you, when you are really working in a tiny office, taking a proper image of that space is nearly impossible. I tried every trick in the book and every tool that I had, but getting it all in view from a distance was just not possible. If anyone can share the secret to making beautiful pictures of a tiny space, let me know, I am interested.
How to Set Up a Small Home Office
Utilize Every Available Space
When setting up a tiny home office, it’s important to make the most of every inch of space available. Go up under the ceiling, use all the available wall space, and don’t forget tiny nooks in the corners.
While shuffling my furniture around on my paper sketch I quickly realized there was only one corner I could place my desk. But the bit of wall space was wider than my desk, it seemed like a waste. Until I realized that next to the desk I had just enough room to accommodate one more bookcase. Not a full-width one but a smaller one.
This setup is perfect. I use the extra shelving as an extension of my desk (which is really small) and I can keep all my go-to books and notepads within reach without cluttering up my desk.
The fact that I could fit an extension onto my bookcases was also a lucky strike because it added more organizational space for books and boxes that I don’t use often.
Related Reading: How to style a bookcase (when you have a lot of books).
In the small empty spaces next to the bookcases and underneath my desk I have stuffed things like rolls of wrapping paper, bags with extra cords, and magazine holders with printer paper.
Organizing Your Supplies
Keeping your supplies organized is key to maximizing your productivity in a small space. Be ruthless when decluttering and getting rid of any items you don’t need (or don’t need now). Then, find some storage solutions that fit your specific needs.
In this room, I organized all my office stuff as well as a whole lot of craft materials in those three bookcases and one drawer cabinet.
Here are some organizers that I have used:
- Ikea Moppe drawer cabinets for hiding away the small stuff
- Magazine holders for files, extra paper, magazines, and craft items
- Vintage painted suitcases for unsightly but useful items
- Boxes, crates, and baskets for all the loose bits and pieces that needed a home. NB label all of them or you’ll spend all of your time looking for things
- A pretty beach bag to hide extension cords
The smaller the room the more important a good organization system is.
Setting Up Your Technology
When it comes to technology, there are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your tiny home office. First, make sure you have a reliable internet connection. If your home office is far from your router, consider investing in a Wi-Fi extender. Second, invest in a comfortable chair and ergonomic keyboard and mouse to prevent strain on your back and neck. Make sure you have a place to plug in all of your office appliances but try your best to hide the cords to maintain a clean look.
This old house was built before electricity existed. And it got wired before the onslaught of technical appliances. This small room has only ONE electrical outlet. That’s it. That is what I had to work with.
Extension cable and giant power strips to the rescue. I invested in one of those large power strips with room for 10 plugs (barely enough). I am hiding it in that bag that is hanging from the radiator knob. I checked and double-checked, and it is not getting hot because there is enough room for it to ventilate.
How to Decorate Your Tiny Home Office
Choose a Color Scheme
When it comes to decorating your tiny home office, choosing a color scheme as your first step is key. Opt for colors that make you feel calm and focused, such as blues, greens, and neutrals. I advise avoiding bright or bold colors because your little office space will be busy enough as it is. Once you’ve chosen your color scheme, incorporate it into your office through your paint, decor, and accessories.
If you are familiar with my style it will come as no surprise that I used a lot of white and neutral colors. All the colorful spines of the books in my bookcases add color enough for the space not to feel bland and boring.
Make it Comfortable and Pretty
Your tiny home office doesn’t need to be only functional and practical, it can be comfortable and pretty as well. When you have placed to necessary furniture like bookcases, office chair and desk dress them up with a few pretty things.
I decorated my mini home office with things that don’t take up a lot of space but make the room feel so much more homely and like me. I used:
- wall decorations like my homemade juju hat wreath
- a small bouquet of faux flowers and houseplants
- a fragrant candle
- pretty pictures on my bulletin board above my desk
- a special cup for my tea while I work.
Keep your accessories minimal and unobtrusive. They need to compliment the office decor without taking up too much room in this tiny workspace.
Keep it Organized and Decluttered
Keeping things organized is key when it comes to a tiny home office. Try your best to keep your desk clutter-free and everything in its place. Make sure you declutter regularly to avoid feeling overwhelmed in your small space.
Working (and sometimes crafting) in this mini office has thought me once more the importance of maintenance and solid routines. There is so little free space to put things that the room can become a mess in no time. And I don’t work well in a mess.
I keep sane in this tiny office space by following simple rules like
a place for everything and everything in its place
if you can put it away now, put it away now
five minutes to clear away at the end of the day
I hope you enjoyed my little tour of my mini home office. I am so grateful to have this space to work and play. But I can also not wait to realize my lofty dreams about a proper studio and workspace someday in the future.
We’ll get there, one renovation project at a time. Stay tuned!
Marianne Songbird is the founder of Songbird, where she hopes to inspire everyone to create a home they love, one DIY project at a time. She shares anything from craft ideas to home decor inspiration and from DIY projects to decorating hacks. Originally from the Netherlands Marianne and her husband Lex are currently renovating a 250-year-old farmhouse in Germany.